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May 15, 2006 - Image 10

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-05-15

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 15, 2006

Sigur Ros shines live
with multi-media set

By Christine Balmes
For the Daily
CNETREVIEW
One of the admirable powers of Sigur
R6os's nebulous whale music is its ability to
invite the listener's imagination to come up
with fanciful images in
tandem with the -music.
It must have been a Sigur Ros
challenge to match the Thursday
Icelandic band's sound At thetState Theaterl
with just the right eye Detroit
candy, but in the end,
the problem was settled by a masterful use
of an alternately translucent and opaque
hanging screen. Throughout the show, half-
human and half-cryptic images flashed in
sync with the music.
The band opened with "Glosoli"
from their latest album Takk, which was
complemented by a visual close-up of
something that could just as easily be

feet stomping, wings beating or a rib-
cage throbbing. The song set the tone for
the rest of the show: odd but beautiful,
abstract but touching, out of this world
but undeniably tangible.
On "Hoppipola, starlight emanated beatifi-
cally from the stage as five bright lamps shone
on the audience. It felt as if the crowd and the
band were somehow in commune. Lead gui-
tarist and frontman Jon Por Birgisson's angelic
falsetto only served to intensify the feeling.
It was moving to watch Birgisson standing
off center, drawing his cello bow across the
guitar strings like a manic farmer plucking
feathers off a chicken. He seemed almost in
pain as his bony, lanky arm worked his guitar.
The rest of the band was equally caught up in
conjuring a sweeping, fluid sound.
And yet it's hard to pin down exactly
what feeling to take away from Thurs-
day's set, which drew mostly from Takk.
"Glosoli," arguably one of the more ethe-
real and escapist tracks of the group's
catalog, does not quite capture the exhila-

ration one feels with Agoetis Byrjun's
"Svefn-g-englar."
However, it is true that the show aimed
to touch something almost spiritual
within the audience.
During the show's second half, there
was a five-second pause wherein the per-
formers remained completely still. The
band was attempting a sort of solemnity,
an awed silence like when one enters a
church. Instead, five or six audience
members - who obviously didn't get it
- began hooting as if they were in a Bon
Jovi concert.
As the show progressed, the songs blended
into each other, an idea that the band culti-
vated. When it was intentional, continuity
was novel and fascinating. But after about the
seventh piece, the ambient bass line became
almost linear in its constancy, and the melo-
dies fused into one another. The songs became
indistinguishable without the band's intent.
Sigur R6s seemed to pull out all the
stops for the encore. The overwhelming
drive of Orri Dyrason's bass drum and
Birgisson's idiosyncratic bow on electric
guitar was juxtaposed by minimalist visu-
als of the silhouettes of each band mem-
ber. The psychedelic shadow theater was
a fitting finale to a concert that, if not con-
stantly stimulating aurally, was at least
visually inspired.

He's kind of like Jimmy Page, only not.

Goo Goo Dolls' latest can't get any 'Love'

By Jerry Gordinier
Daily Arts Writer

On comeback albums, many groups
take chances or push
the limits of their sound. GOo GOO
However, the Goo Goo Dolls
Dolls stay safe on their Let Love In
latest release, Let Love
In, offering up another Watner Bros.
full-bodied collection of
palatable, uninspiring pop-rock.

Fans of the band will receive more of
what they've come to appreciate. The mal-
aised vocal stylings of front man Johnny
Rzeznik are omnipresent and subdued,
delivering up the ballads unabashedly. The
album's title track exhibits the fullest range
of his abilities in a nice package. The tem-
pered intermingling of play-by-numbers
accoustic and electric guitar lines mir-
ror the song's melencholy/upbeat shifts.
Haunting, fading synth and a whimsi-
cal flute offset Rzeznik in a very catchy
manor. The slight instrumental diversity
and experimentation here hint at what

could have been much more than another
album of forlorn whining.
If there are hints, however, there are cer-
tainly no answers. Detractors of the Dolls
will find more than enough to concern
them. "Stay With You" is the prototypi-
cal, needlessly extended, heavily-distorted
four-chord progression easily marketable
as a foot-tap hum or radio play. Cut-and-
paste pop-rock lyrics are still the order of
the day and litter the album like a middle
school poetry hour.
Keeping in tune to the band's personal
pop-revolution, the oddly emphazemic

rasps from the jagged Robby Takac are
limited to "Listen" and "Strange Love."
Perhaps his voice might be instituted to
regain some edge after the accusations
of the band's washed-out mama's-biscuit
sound. These tracks come off more as
attempts at personal appeasement than as
songs uniquely situated for his sandpaper
vocal style. The overwhelming presence of
Rzeznik makes Takac's grabs for the spot-
light seem out of place.
Overall, the Dolls latest radio-ready
album will appease the devotees. Every-
one else ought to finda replacement.

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